A report of a Snapchat message led to a heightened security presence at Eastern Pulaski Schools Wednesday. Superintendent Dan Foster says the matter was brought to a teacher’s attention Tuesday afternoon.
“One of our teachers received information from a student that another student had, perhaps, posted some kind of Snapchat message that indicated, as a prank, they might bring a weapon to school tomorrow,” Foster explains. “And, at that time, the teacher brought it to the administrators. Administrators called the law enforcement.”
Foster says school officials have been working with the Winamac Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, and Indiana State Police, but as of Wednesday afternoon, they hadn’t been able to locate the individual responsible for the message. “What we believe is that it was kind of a joke between friends and it got out there a little bit and things kind of snowballed and so now, somebody might be afraid to speak up,” Foster adds. “We hope that’s not the case.”
Foster says they’re taking the matter seriously, but stresses that they don’t believe student and staff safety has been compromised. “There never was a threat made to do any harm or anything of that nature toward the buildings themselves or any occupants,” he adds.
In the meantime, school officials and police have been taking the necessary precautions. “We had additional law enforcement on campus this morning and throughout the later part of the morning,” Foster says. “We’ve had guys here until 1:00, 1:30 today, even, and some of them are coming back. But we also had two checkpoints this morning at the middle school/high school, and we checked the bags as students came in the doors.”
However, school officials’ efforts to communicate the issue to parents was complicated, according to Foster, by another Snapchat message that was sent out Tuesday night. “That was inaccurate, based on a lot of hearsay and it wasn’t actually related to the first message, and that caused a lot of confusion, caused a lot of panic, actually,” he says. “And we were in the middle of getting a phone message together, as well as the law enforcement officials were actually talking to a couple people during that same time.”
Foster notes that classes went on as normal Wednesday, but attendance was down, since some parents kept their kids home.